Monday, July 8, 2019

Grades! Midterm Grades Are In!

Yes, people, it's the moment you've all been waiting for.  And I think you'll find that overall...grades are pretty high for this overachieving, endlessly entertaining Yankees team—as well they should be.

These are, mind you, based in part on my often irrational expectations for these players and executives.  If you feel this is unfair...make up your own damned grades!

Let's get started:


Austin Romine: C

A solid C, mind you.  Our back-up catcher (and occasional first baseman) of the last 4 years has come up with some clutch hits, and generally done a respectable job filling in once or twice a week, especially in the field.

But both the power and the on-base numbers are down bigly from last year's totals, shrinking from an OPS of .713 to just .557.  Maybe this is only an indication that, so far this year, Romine has not had the extended opportunity to play that he did during Sancho's meltdown last season.  And maybe we would be better off getting a better back-up catcher, though good luck with that one.

Gary Sánchez: A—

No more ICS!  The man known as Sancho has regained almost all of his old form, and he bids fair for Comeback Player of the Year.  It could be that his dual injuries last season, to both gonads and shoulder—helpfully concealed from all of us by Brian Cashman—were really the only problem, and that, one operation later, he is back where he belongs.

The OPS is, after all, back to exactly where it was in his all-star, 2017 season—.876—and he already has over a third more homers than he did all of last season, including some crucial, recent bombs.  His pitch-framing remains top drawer, and his passed balls have decreased exponentially.  There has also been none of the brain-freeze that seemed to afflict him last year—once again, maybe something more due to injury than we knew.

The only reason he's not up to a full "A" is a bit of spottiness in his power (just 7 doubles), a continuing drop off in walks (only a .316 OPS, and a .245 BA), and both a lower percentage of baserunners gunned down (only 24 percent, down from 41 when he broke in, in 2016), and a slight rash of errors (11 already this year, as opposed to a previous season high of 13).

But this could also be just post-op adjusting.  It may well be that, as he continues to regain strength, his throws will become better and stronger again.

It seems doubtful that Sánchez will ever be the second coming of Johnny Bench—something he looked fully capable of becoming for long stretches of 2017.  But he is back close to his prior form, for which we can all be grateful.

Coming soon: Infielders!

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